View Full Version : Reality TV and History

March 14th, 2002, 10:54 PM
The BBC has a show, I think it's the latest version of Castaway, where they have a group of people living like ancient Celts for a year.

PBS has a four part show starting on the 29th I think where they've sent three families to build cabins and run a homestead just like the pioneers.

The people on the PBS show said it was a very rewarding spiritual experience and backbreaking work. The kids learned a great deal about self reliance, responsibility and what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

So what do think of these kind of shows? Do you think they teach us anything about how our ancestors lived? Do you think you'd want to try to live without modern conveniences for a few months?

I'm in terrible physical shape but yeah, I'd love to do it. I'd go through interent withdrawal but in the end I think you'd have to drag me away...

March 15th, 2002, 12:08 AM
Wow! I wonder if the one on the Celts airs on BBC America? I'd love to see that.

As for the pioneer one...wow..that would be so cool! I kind of feel that way when we go camping. We really tend to rough it. I think it would be really cool to live that way for a few months...

Yes. I think that it does help to put us more in touch with our ancestry..and hey..those shows are MUCH better and more intelligent than "The Real World" or "Survivor" for sure :)

March 15th, 2002, 01:41 AM
My brother was telling me -- about a year ago -- about one called "the 1800's House" or something like that. It was kind of what you're talking about -- living-history sort of stuff.

I'd be far more likely to watch one of these than, say, Survivor or Big Brother.

March 15th, 2002, 02:03 AM
I heard about the "1800's House". This one is a seven hour mountain hike from the nearest general store though, which only carries 1800's stuff!:D

Yeah it was on BBC America. One of the people got sick and had to go to a hotel for a few days to get better.

I can't wait for the PBS one. I read an article on it in Better Homes and Gardens while waiting in the doc's office and it looks fantastic.

Cinnamon Girl
March 15th, 2002, 03:54 PM
Oooh! I'll have to tune into BBC America and check it out ~ they replayed the original Castway episodes ad nauseum so it probably won't be too difficult to catch up.

The show on PBS was actually 'The 1900 House' and was sent in England. It took a family (husband, wife, three daughters and a son) and set them up in a authentic redone 1900-era home. I can't remember how long they were in for but it was at least a month or two. It was really interesting and I could totally identify with the frustrations of the mother and the older teen daughter - the outfits, hygiene, cleaning and housework (the laundry process alone had me thanking the gods for my washer and dryer!). It was a fascinating experiment and The Pioneer House is done with the same ideals in mind. Thanks, Earthcup, for letting me know when it's starting and jogging my memory about it. I will definately be watching!

I would love to participate in something like this ~ a 'limited-time only' immersion in the past. I do imagine that by the end of it I'd be only too glad to get back to modern times!

Oh, and the first thing the English family did upon leaving the house? They went to Burger King! LOL!

March 15th, 2002, 04:09 PM
lol Whoppers!

I'm not sure about limited time only myself. With maybe the exception of the fridge and the PC I don't think I'd miss modern life all that much. I've considered the homesteading thing and if I had the money and willing partners I'm pretty sure I'd give it a go.

The fridge and PC would be hard to give up though.

Anyone remember the Dinosaur's Refridgerator Day? lol

March 15th, 2002, 07:45 PM
I loved the 1900 House, and being SCA/Ren Fest, I'm perfectly happy camping out in long skirts and cooking on an open fire for weeks on end, but I think those people who do such things really are in for a rude shock - we have such romanticized expectations, I think. The 1900 House pointed it out - the older daughter talking about losing her hair after using lye soap on it comes to mind. It's those things, and not the loss of TV or cars or dish washers that would probably really get to me. And I think I'm someone with a lot of unusual survival skills in the modern era.

I have made a couple of films that involved wearing 19th centtury clothes from the skin out, and when you're filming in Missouri and Nebraska in the summer, and it's 100 degrees F plus humidity, you find yourself barely able to function normally when you have on a corset, two petticoats, long underwear, boots and - you're getting the picture.

I love the idea of such reality experiences, but I'm not sure that you'd get the necessary period experience as you tried to adjust to the changes in lifestyle. By the time you got used to it, it would be over.

March 15th, 2002, 09:50 PM
She lost hair? Who made that soap? :eek:

I've made lye soap and it's harmless. Leaves a film but harmless. I've even used it as a shampoo when I'm in a hurry...

Someone didn't make that soap properly, probably used an egg to test the lye to make it "traditional"... :mad:

*walks off muttering about inept soapmakers...*

I'm not talking a total re-enactment but just homesteading and being self sufficient in general. What can I say? I'm an idealistic hippie!:D

*subscribes to Mother Earth News*;)

Dancin Girl
March 16th, 2002, 03:00 AM
The 1900 House was excellent, I loved it!!! And, EarthCup, if I remember correcty, they had to make their own soap?? Or at least attempt it.... They were given recipes for various items such as soap, hand lotion, and other things and had to make what they were unable to purchase in the local pharmacy that was involved in providing them with period appropriate items. I believe they were there for 3 months??

My daughter is a huge history buff and one of her goals is to work at a living history museum at least for a while. We spent a vacation a few years ago visiting them from Minnesota to Ohio... and at every one, my kids knew more about what was there and how it was used than the staff did!!

March 16th, 2002, 01:01 PM
I've done soap-making once.

We made lye-soap, and the process itself wasn't that difficult. We did, however, use modern chem-lab procedures: the goggles one would use in lab (it was a college town -- the EXACT goggles sold for lab!), big rubber gloves, lots of very exact thermometers, scales, and timers, charts.

I hate to think about making it without modern technology... And when you look at period sources, you do hear lots of complaints about the harshness of lye-soap -- usually indicating the soaponification (is that the right word, Earthcup? The chemical process where lye & fat combine to make soap?) was incomplete.

Frankly, I think if I had to do it period-style, I'd err on the side of caution & use way too much fat!

March 16th, 2002, 04:05 PM
The problem is people thought they could measure the amount of dye by an egg, whther it floated or sank. Which resulted in some off soap.

I've made it in my kitchen with rubber gloves, ditched the stupid goggles, and it turned out fine. As long as you measure everything very carefully and keep an eye on it it shouldn't be any different from "normal" soap. My only problem is that I try to use too many additives....:D

March 16th, 2002, 07:04 PM
I love history, so the show sounds interesting. I didn't realize that making soap was so difficult. I made soap ages ago when I was in elementary school; I don't recall it to be unusually difficult. So these people are having problems making common items that we take for granted? No offense mysticwicks friends, but the show does sound kind of like Survivor, but then again, I haven't watched Survivor in a year, so my memory has been jaded.

March 16th, 2002, 10:41 PM
I got to help make the soap that my friend who got married at christams gave as favors at her wedding. It turned out well. I think with the 1900 house they didn't really know what they were doing.

I agree, I think it would be fun, but the learning takes awhile. three months just wouldn't do it.

March 19th, 2002, 01:58 AM
Of course, some of us would have "unfair advantages" over the people who did this, I'm sure. :nyah:

April 29th, 2002, 10:45 PM
You guys mentioned a few reality based shows which transported people to live as if they were in the 1800s. I heard that PBS is reshowing the Frontier House if any of you guys are interested.

April 30th, 2002, 01:03 AM
Starts tomorrow night right? :)

April 30th, 2002, 07:20 PM
I think that it started on April 29. Hope this helps. :)

April 30th, 2002, 08:10 PM
:( missed the first one but hopefully they'll rerun it!

May 1st, 2002, 08:00 PM
I sat smiling expecting to learn about homesteading and instead got a view of human's cracking under pressure.....:lol:

Personally, I like the still idea. Work smarter not harder.

I think that's the first effective diet and exercise plan I've ever seen! Will I be attempting it? :nonono:

May 1st, 2002, 08:11 PM
lol. I don't know, Earthcup, will you be practicing your new work philosophy. Personally, I haven't seen the show. (I just heard about its airing from friends.) For that reason, I didn't know that it shows people cracking under pressure. But then again, that's the type of program people want to watch. So is the show kind of like Survivor (gasp, I know that I shouldn't mention that) - meaning does a certain group of people or individuals win a prize at the end for doing well on the show?

Dancin Girl
May 1st, 2002, 08:21 PM
I am sitting here anxiously awaiting tonight's installment!! Just wish there were a few more of them! I went to the web site and read all of the extra info... wish more of it could be shown.

I think they're experiencing a lot of what the original homesteaders did, including the cracking under pressure as they tried to survive out there!!

And, Yay, Three Cheers for the Clunes and their still... even for their deciding that desperate circumstances calling for desperate measures.. and trading with the outside world!! Nooo, she probably shouldn't have went into their house and peeked at the TV while she was there... but she did only trade for things she could have gotten back then, Elk and venison meat, potatoes, carrots and onions.

And, if I had to live near or with that other woman, Karen... I might be seriously tempted to go off the deep end and either shoot her or leave her out there by herself since she doesn't need anyone anyway!!!

Dancin Girl
May 1st, 2002, 08:24 PM
Mnemosyne, the only prize they win at the end is the experience, their own sense of accomplishment and what ever they learned from the whole experience.

May 2nd, 2002, 02:20 AM
Karen is the most religous person there and the person with the most issues. Coincidence?

Except for the snakes, I would love doing this. I think I'd want the chance to do my homework and get in shape first but this is just amazing....

I think there needed to be a balanced distribution of chores, I wouldn't mind designing and building things as well instead cooking and cleaning all the time.

It's not like Survivor at all but the stress of preparing for winter brought out the worst in a few people at times. The children were the most sensible people at times.

I feel really bad that Karen and Mark are separated now but I doubt I could live with that woman either.... :ugh:

*dreams of Montana skies...*

May 4th, 2002, 05:10 PM
I finally got to watch a few episodes! So far, Nate is my favorite charachter. I also like Gordon and His wife.

I cannot STAND karen, who seems out just to prove how strong women can be. Can we say .."CHIP ON SHOULDER?". And her moralistic preaching is getting to me too. Seems to me that Gordon is doing what he has to do to get bye. So what if he's moonshining! In those days, you did what you needed to do to survive. Furthermore, Karen's argument is mainly with him having the kids involved.

My Grandmother's Mother's folks were moonshiners. And I can tell you, My Grandmother Knew about it, and participated in it (to the extent of warning when the law was near, hiding, and helping to transport, back in the day). And she never became a degenerate because of it, or an alchoholic. I think Gordon's approach of talking to his kids about it is not going to in any way scar them for life. He's teaching them a lesson in self sufficiency, and survival. And Karen should keep her mouth shut about it.

Anyway..My husband and I have both become really interested in this show. We love it!

Dancin Girl
May 4th, 2002, 06:02 PM
I think that the experience opened Mark's eyes to his relationship with Karen... and to the world around him... I liked him even more after the last episode of the show when they were all back home and talking about the whole experience and the changes it made in the way they look at life now.

Won't give away the end results, Danu, but Karen does seem to get her paybacks for her behavior and her attitude about everything... The woman just irritates and grates on me!! Couldn't imagine living in a small confined area with her for 5 months!!

Nate and his wife were great!!! I loved Rudi too though when he was there.. what a way for the family to reconnect their lives together!!

May 4th, 2002, 11:22 PM
Mark's my favorite. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he moved out west to start over....

Karen has been paid back ... reminds me of that bumper sticker: "It's a good thing Jesus loves you..." I just feel sorry for her kids....

I was really impressed by the school and the buildings. I didn't think thet would have time to do all that but they did an amazing job. It was a very positive show overall!